A guide for how to play and sing at the same time.
Can you play the guitar? Can you sing your favorite song? Have you seen live performers strum the acoustic guitar while singing melodiously? Have you ever wondered how artists can sing and play guitar at the same time? If you have ever tried, you know how hard it is to sing while playing guitar.
As a budding singer-songwriter or performer, it can seem almost impossible to do both at once, and yet Taylor Swift has been doing it since she was sixteen. It can be done, don’t you worry. All you need is the practice in the rhythm and the sense of timing and co-ordination between your strumming and singing. If you learned how to sing and you learned how to play guitar, you’ll learn how to sing and play guitar at the same time too!
Here are some tips for you:
1. Start Simple:
Try a simple song. If you start at the most difficult song, you’ll feel unmotivated and frustrated. So, choose an easy, catchy, song, like a nursery rhyme or a popular folk song. It should be a song within your vocal range, something you can master just after a few times of practice. Also, make sure your choice of song is easy to play on the guitar. There are plenty of popular and catchy tunes with four chords or less! Take a pick from them and make sure you can remember the chords, the lyrics, and the singing notes.
2. Master the Song:
Once you have picked the song, make sure you learn all the lyrics of the song by heart. Practice the tune, the lyrics, the notes, and try to get familiar with the ways of the song. While you are practicing the song, you can play the instrumental or the karaoke version of the song online as you practice. Don’t try to rush yourself into learning the chords just yet. Focus on the song and sing it loudly around your house and even your bathroom. Ask for feedback from your friends, family, and roommates. Once you know every part of the song without looking at the lyrics or the notes, then you are ready for the guitar.
3. Master the Chords:
Now, you should pick up the guitar and learn the chords. Play the music until you have it down pat and you can riff it off fluently. You can watch guitar tutorials on YouTube and get even the hardest parts right. Record yourself playing and play it back, see how it measures up to the original. There’s a way of checking whether you have memorized the chords: if you play the chords correctly while doing something else like talking to someone, you’ve got it!
4. Metronome It Up!
If you have never tried to play the guitar with a metronome, try it now. Practice playing the guitar for 10-20 minutes every day with the metronome playing in the background. It helps to keep with the rhythm and timing of the song. It might feel interruptive in the beginning but after a few days of practice and you’ll see for yourself how much your sense of timing and rhythm has improved. You can also learn how to tap your foot to the beat of the metronome and then when you have to perform the song, you can just tap your foot instead of using the metronome.
5. Count the beat
Make sure you are counting the beat of the metronome in your head. Then practice doing that out loud. Then practice counting with the tap of your foot. If you internalize the metronome, you can keep track of the counts without the actual thing. It is unrealistic to have a metronome with you on stage or wherever you are going to be performing, so this is a good way of keeping the beat on your own.
5. Hum-ble Beginnings
Once you have enough practice of singing the song and playing the guitar by keeping count with or without the metronome now, hum the song as you play the guitar. Consider this a baby step before you sing and play guitar at the same time. Just hum the entire song with all the chord changes. This will help you avoid the incoordination that comes with playing chords and singing lyrics for the first few times. Hum the melody as you play the guitar with the metronome or the tapping of your feet, and you can totally see yourself singing the song with the right lyrics after a few tries.
6. Slowly Replace Humming with Lyrics
Once you’ve gotten the hang of keeping the beat, strumming the guitar, and humming the song, slow down. You have done so great so far. You can only go up from here! Try to sing only the first part of the song. Take it slowly, note by note, and verse by verse. Again, make sure to record yourself so you can go back to listen to any mistakes. You can also perform like this in front of your guitar teacher or mentor so they can check if you are doing it right. Make sure you are hitting all the right notes and playing the guitar right. Accuracy is far more important than speed. Go through the song like this, line by line, and then try to smooth the smaller wrinkles over time.
Also checkout an article on How Many Strings Does a Guitar Have.
There is no replacing the good old practice. Practice singing and playing the guitar at the same time. Just practice the starting and the ending again and again. Make sure you have got the bridge perfectly. And remember the chorus of the song is the best part so practice the chorus to match your energy with the songs. Practice how you will stand or sit during the performance in front of a mirror. Get the height of the mic stand, or the chair, or the stool right so that you don’t look like you have bad posture. And keep on practicing. Have a little show for your family and friends maybe even your pets!